Reading and Reviewing Books – May Contain Beard: "From Tiny Book Blog Buds Shall Mighty Book Blogs Grow" – TBBB
Author: Beardy Book Blogger
Hi there. Avid book reader of mainly crime, thriller, horror, and combinations thereof. Also partial to some sci-fi and fantasy when the mood takes me. Rarely read biographies, but will if they're about Queen or Laurel and Hardy (HUUUGE fan of both).
This is a brilliant post by Fahrenheit author Aidan Thorn. Not only does he extoll the virtues of the novella, but he’s fully behind my idea for #Fahrenbruary. Wonderfull stuff. Look out for more on this real soon.
If you’re a reader of these pages I imagine you like your entertainment dripping in noir and with the spirit of punk running right through its core. So, I probably don’t need to introduce you to Fahrenheit Press and its hard-boiled and experimental imprint, Fahrenheit 13. But you may not be aware of the levels of dedication Fahrenheit readers have for what this wonderful small press is doing. Next month is February, and I know I didn’t need to tell you that because if you’re like me you’ll dread its arrival every year. It’s just far enough away from Christmas that it feels like a distant memory and the green shoots of spring and summer feel like they’ll never arrive. But this year the fans of Fahrenheit Press have decided to brighten things up with a celebration of dark, disturbing, funny, experimental, engaging, sad, heartfelt and just plain brilliant…
The trees of the forest sigh as they move in the breeze. They appear to whisper to you as the branches rustle against each other creating a sinister susurration that sends a shiver down your spine. A twig snaps somewhere deep within the forest as you slowly become aware of a presence surrounding you. Terror begins to mount inside you as you become more and more disoriented as the darkness falls. Why, why did you have to stop the car to have a wee in the woods at this hour? You knew, just knew, that having that second glass of Pepsi Max was a bad idea. You spin around as you swear that you hear a voice behind you. But there is no one there. Where is the car? You have no idea from which direction you came in from now; everywhere looks exactly the same; the shapes and shadows blurring into one. Suddenly you hear a tapping.
tap. tap. tap. taptap. tap.
What the hell is that? Where is it coming from? It sounds like it is coming from behind you. No, now it’s ahead of you… no, to your left… is it getting closer?
tap. tap. tap. taptap. tap.
Now it is clear and coming from all around you. You begin to panic, all thoughts of your wee-wee are gone (as is the wee as it travels down your leg), as you race through the trees, the branches swiping at your face, stinging your cheeks, getting caught on your clothes. Still the tapping continues, closer than ever, keeping up with your retreat.
Finally you burst out of the trees and onto the road. Your car sits a few metres up the road. Your relief is short lived though for as you approach your car you notice that it has been vandalised. The windscreen is shattered, the wipers are broken and the seats inside are all torn and ripped apart. Standing back you notice that the car is covered in scratches. Still reeling with fear, and with sodden trousers, you stand and stare aghast at the damage. Then you notice something odd. There is something familiar about those scratches.
You stand further back and stare at the markings on your car.
They appear to form words.
They appear to form… a blurb:
On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the dark Wentshire Forest Pass, when his father, Sorrel, stopped the car to investigate a mysterious knocking sound. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.
Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. Journeying through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there, he talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know what happened to the little boy…
Did you know that there are many, many things that can be launched?
Take rockets, for example:
You can launch bottles:
Even invertebrates can be launched:
BUT, did you know, did you know, that books could be launched too? No, I bet, like me, that you didn’t. So when I heard of the Orenda Books Mega Launch being held in London, I got very excited indeed.
Of course, being the busy blogger that I am, I had no time to go along, but I knew someone who would be free to go in my place.
Someone I could trust to report back on the night’s shenanigans.
Someone I could trust to take lots of photos of the insane bookish talent that would be there.
Someone I could trust who could fully do the night justice and be relied upon to capture all the juicy details and bookish facts that were bound to abound within.
Sadly, it turned out that that person wasn’t free after all. So, with a heavy sense of dread and a quick bribe with a packet of chocolate Hobnobs, and after exhausting all of my other contacts, I approached Plan Z…b:
That’s right, once again I sent along myself, The Beardy Book Blogger, to investigate, ingratiate, and generally annoy, the wonderful people of Orenda Books.
Everyone tried to warn you, but did you listen? Did you heck. Looking back, the young lady at the bird re-homing centre did seem a tad keen to offload your bird of choice, but you just brushed it off. Now you have the bird at home you understand why she was so keen: cuckoos are a bloody nightmare. You thought it would be great to own a cuckoo, and when you saw the advert in the local bird re-homing group on Facebook, you couldn’t wait to reply and offer to rehouse her. They got back to you immediately, saying that you can collect Godlefe the very next day. Even the lack of any home checks, etc, didn’t ring any alarm bells. At first when you got Godlefe home and released her into your little flat all appeared well. She settled into her little bird box that put up on the wall – you don’t approve of cages – and she seemed to sleep. But then, at 1pm, she pokes her head out of her little box and goes ‘cuckoo’. Awh, that was cute, you think. Then, an hour later, she goes ‘cuckoo cuckoo’. At 3pm, ‘cuckoo cuckoo cuckoo’. 4pm ‘cuckoo cuckoo cuckoo cuckoo’…. by 10pm that novelty had well and truly worn off. You tried putting a blanket over her box at night, but she just pokes her head out and continues as if nothing was amiss. And then there are the eggs; she lays them everywhere. You’ve found one in your bowl of plums (only realising it after you bit into it), in the little bowl of potpourri your mum keeps putting in the bathroom, and even in the hood of your jacket that hangs behind the kitchen door, which you only discovered when it cracked over your head as you put the hood up. After a week of sleepless nights and growing complaints from the neighbours, plus the continuing egg problem, you decide that Godlefe has to go back to the centre.
You search Facebook for the bird re-homing group page, but it appears to have been closed down. Instead of the page you had found before, in its place you find…. a blurb:
Danny Lancaster has been missing since the fishing boat exploded. Police are closing their inquiry but Wanda Lovejoy continues her campaign to find the truth. An evil man kept alive by machines nurses a corrosive hate. As drugs and disease pull his dying mind apart he throws his crime empire into a scorched earth quest to find one man. If Danny Lancaster isn’t dead he soon will be.
Welcome one and welcome all to the Beardy Book Blogger Cover Reveal for Rachel Amphlett’s 7th Kay Hunter novel “Title To Be Revealed Later“.
I know what you’re thinking here: That’s a darned strange title for a book, isn’t it? *scratches chin and ponders*
Well, you silliest of silly billies, of course that isn’t the title of Kay Hunter 7. What I am alluding to up there is the fact that not only is this a cover reveal for “Title To Be Revealed Later“, BUT, the most buttiest of buttnesses, this is also the title reveal, which shall, as I’m guessing you may have figured out by now, be revealed later.
So, get your comfy pants on, make a brew, sit back, ready your excitement glands and read on……..
It’s not the first time that you’ve heard it; the sound of running water that appears to come from the bathroom opposite. For the last couple of nights you’ve heard it and at first you thought that it might have been coming from the room upstairs. In this old house the walls are thin and you figure that the woman upstairs just likes to take her bath late at night. But then she left and the sound kept coming; the sound of running water filling a bath tub. Then comes the frantic splashing. Then comes the silence. This particular night you’ve had enough. If someone is playing a practical joke on you it had better end now, tonight. You cross the corridor and sneak up to the bathroom door, listening as the water splashes about and then you throw open the door hoping to catch them in the act (or in the nude, but that’s a chance you’re willing to take). There is nothing there. The bath is bone dry. No water anywhere to be seen. Then a drip hits the top of your head. So it is from upstairs. But there is no one living up there. Thinking it must be a burst pipe you begin to worry that the water will cascade through into your room, so you leap up the stairs two at a time and enter the bathroom, grateful that no one here locks their doors. The sight that greets you takes you by surprise. The bath is full of water, but it isn’t still; it sloshes about, spilling over and onto the floor as if someone is in there thrashing, desperate to get out. What the hell…? You stand and watch horrified when suddenly it calms and stills. It is then that you notice the freezing temperature in the room, but despite this it is full of steam. It fills the room and covers the mirror above the sink. Then as you shiver and wonder what the hell is going on you hear a wet slapping sound. Looking down you see footprints appearing in the water on the bare wooden floorboards, they’re coming towards you. With your mouth going dry, despite the humidity in the room, you see that they turn away from you and move towards the mirror. With mounting terror you hear a wet squeaking noise as a clear path is drawn into the condensed steam with an unseen finger. As the steam starts to clear, and before your unbelieving, terrified eyes, you see the words that are slowly forming as someone, or something, is writing a….blurb:
Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history
When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…
At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.
The little old lady looks up at you in astonishment: you can see me? she says. You look around for an escape route as, frankly, she has a slightly rheumy, crazy look in her eye and you are beginning to get worried. She shuffles closer, peering up at you, a questioning almost disbelieving look on her face. You mumble an almost imperceptible “yes” and begin to edge away. But she is a stubborn little woman, and she suddenly holds up a tattered old Tesco bag-for-life in your face. The bag looks like it has come to the end of its life and there’s a slightly musty, damp, muddy smell emanating from it, but the little shrunken woman waves it enthusiastically about in front of you. Do you want to see, she asks. No, you really don’t want to see what you strongly suspect are her unwashed undergarments, but she now has you backed up against a wall and your escape routes are becoming more and more limited. Reluctantly you agree and with a huge, toothless grin the walking, talking walnut in an overcoat grabs your hand and suddenly starts to pull you down the street toward a little used, darkened alleyway. “Woah, woah, wait a minute…”, you start to protest, but this old lady has surprising strength and her grip is like iron. She drags you into the alleyway saying that her house is just at the end, round the corner and next to the creek. The creek? That’s where the bodies always get washed up, and you start to sweat with worry, and no little embarrassment, that you have been apprehended maybe to be murdered by a desiccated old woman. Oh, the ignominy of it all. You wish you’d worn clean underwear. Suddenly the sweat oozing from your palms enables you to pull you hand free and the two of you fall apart; the momentum causing the old lady to fly off into the wall ahead and her bag is thrown into the air. The contents spill out over you as you fall with a thump to the ground. Its contents revealed you discover that it is not her unwashed smalls that you have spread across your face, but pieces of fabric embroidered with something neat and intricate. The old woman curses a little under her breath as you stare in amazement at the detail woven into the cloth. You are mesmerised and jump as the old woman appears next to you out of nowhere. She smiles, offering a helping hand as you stand. She lays the cloth out on the floor of the alley, all thoughts of abduction, murder and the smell of fresh piss – your own as it turns out, adding to the ignominy – forgotten as she begins to explain what the tiny stitching means.
What is revealed is something truly magical.
Something you will never forget and will live to tell your children and grandchildren about.
You thank the fates that you met this old woman as she reveals to you her….blurb.
Under their feet lies magic…
When Sam falls in love with South London thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.
Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, the mysterious world that lies beneath their feet and, ultimately, the solution to their crises.
With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.
You’ve been watching the house across the road from your little Skoda for a while now; what the hell is going on over there? The man that you presume lives there has been acting very oddly for a few weeks now. Yesterday he came home with several bags filled with what looked like bottles of bleach. Maybe he’s just a germaphobe about to give the house a damn good scrubbing? Whilst you eat the last chunk of your chocolate bar his car appears out of nowhere, pulling up abruptly in his drive. Wiping a chocolatey dribble from your chin, you watch as the man sits there in the driver’s seat for a few minutes before getting out and popping the boot open. It’s dark now and you struggle to see what he is getting out of the boot, but it looks like a large roll of…carpet? It’s definitely cylindrical and about the size of…a human? No, don’t be silly, that stuff only happens in movies or in badly written book reviews. Still, you watch as the man struggles to keep a grip of the object, taking photos on your phone’s camera. Suddenly the man’s feet give way from underneath him and he falls to the ground, dropping the object onto the floor. He swears loudly as it rolls away from him. He manages to grab one end, but that only causes the object to unravel towards your car. You watch in horror as the object unfurls before you, but instead of a body inside you see, writing? Surely you are mistaken, but what appears to be inside the object is far more disturbing than a body.
It is…. a blurb.
One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach
Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.
But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…
And someone is watching…
Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.
You are starting to become a tad worried. The new neighbour in the flat next door is beginning to creep you out. At first you thought that you may have been overreacting; she was just being over friendly, a little too confident, nervous about meeting new people maybe? But then you noticed things going missing at home: the ring you were given by your mother has gone; the little yellow duck that you’ve had since you were two and won in a Hook-The-Duck game at the fair; the conker you had pickled after it won fifteen, yes fifteen games in a row and made you into a playground sensation for the whole of the half term; and, most upsetting of all, the little pendant containing the small, dark, curly hair that you found in the urinal after you followed Brian May into the toilets in Selfridges one Christmas. You wonder whether they got lost in the move, but you’re sure that they were there before. Then there are the other things: the TV being left on a different channel to the one you know you left it on; the coffee spoon being clean and put back into the drainer; the letters on the side table all being straightened up and neatly aligned in size order. You start to think you’re being haunted by a ghost with OCD, but the rational part of your mind suspects the new neighbour. And then there is the letter addressed to you personally, in a childish writing. You found it on your door mat when you came home. You open it and pull out the piece of paper inside. You stare in disbelief at what is written on it. You can’t believe anyone would stoop so low as to write this.
In your trembling hands, sweat pouring from your brow, scarcely able to believe it, is written…..a blurb.
Murders that look like accidents. An accident that looks like murder.
A couple and their young son burn to death in a house fire. A girl dies from a nut allergy. A woman falls under a train during the rush hour. An accountant falls down the steps to his basement. Their deaths appear to be accidents but Gloria knows they were murdered because she murdered them. And every time Gloria kills she buys a doll. But how many dolls will she need to keep her satisfied? When Gloria takes a room as a lodger her behaviour starts to spin out of control. Gloria wants love and happiness and friendship and she will do anything she can to get what she wants..